WASHINGTON (KFVS) - U.S. Senators and Representatives are leading an effort to fund the modernization of locks along the upper Mississippi and Illinois Rivers.
Senators Roy Blunt (MO), Dick Durbin (IL), Chuck Grassley (IA), and Tammy Baldwin (WI), along with U.S. Representatives Jason Smith (MO) and Cheri Bustos (IL), led a bipartisan letter to Senate and House appropriators urging the inclusion of funding for the Navigation and Ecosystem Restoration Program (NESP) for the Fiscal Year 2020 Energy and Water Development Appropriations bills.
Funding is needed so the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers can move forward with pre-construction engineering and design for the projects.
“Our nation’s water infrastructure plays a critical role in maintaining our competitiveness in the global economy by ensuring the safe and efficient movement of goods to market, but the current backlog of outstanding water infrastructure projects pending before the Corps is putting that competitiveness at risk,” the members wrote. “NESP is an important, dual-purpose program that allows the Corps to address both navigation and ecosystem restoration in an integrated approach that will result in the expansion of seven outdated locks along the Upper Mississippi and Illinois Rivers.”
Read the full letter here.